Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rhode Island Does Away With Mandatory Minimums

A small state with big ideas...
Providence — The General Assembly has approved legislation that rolls back mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, a move that proponents hope will cut costs, ease overcrowding at the state prison and give judges more discretion in meting out punishment.

The vote, in the waning hours of the legislative session that concluded early Saturday, comes as the prison grapples with a rising inmate population and adds Rhode Island to a growing list of states where lawmakers have mulled changes to their sentencing policies.

“I'm overjoyed and thankful,” Sen. Harold Metts, the bill's primary sponsor and a religious volunteer at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, said Monday. “I thank God.”

The legislation repeals minimum sentences imposed for drug crimes and also reduces the maximum punishment an offender can receive. Under the bill, for instance, a defendant convicted of possessing more than one kilogram of heroin, or more than five kilograms of marijuana, would no longer face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

“It would give the judges discretion,” Metts said. “Certainly in the late teens, early 20s, people do make mistakes. It shouldn't mean that your life is over.”

The department says the data is based on individuals who are sentenced on any drug crimes that are not possession offenses, and it doesn't reflect the drug quantity.

Even so, many inmates who initially serve brief terms behind bars ultimately end up back in prison on probation violations, said Mimi Budnick, an organizer with the advocacy group Direct Action for Rights and Equality, who believes the new approach would help with overcrowding.

“The long probation sentences are a huge part of the problem,” she said.

Critics say mandatory minimum practices are ineffective, lead to excessive prison terms and strip the nuances from sentencing decisions in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach.

“People have this idea that it's about targeting these major traffickers,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that opposes mandatory minimum sentences.

“But in reality, it's low-level people, people who have their own drug problems,” he added.

Many states have contemplated changing their sentencing structures, either by rolling back mandatory minimums or altering their sentencing guidelines, said Laura Sager, the national campaign director for Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

Michigan, in particular, has made dramatic reforms by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and allowing early parole eligibility for certain drug offenders, Sager said. Other states have recently mulled changes, though with varied results.

In Rhode Island, Republican Gov. Don Carcieri said last week the state must find ways to safely reduce the inmate population. He has not said whether he would sign or veto Metts' bill, although Democrats hold a veto-proof majority in both chambers.

“I haven't even seen it, so I don't want to comment,” the governor said before the vote.


Anonymous said...

It's a victory and one-state-voice is the beginning of true-justice in this county....as we go fight for other people's freedom, we can not forget those who are willing to fight for this county, by allowing that inmate to reform through proper incarceration based to match the individual and the circumstances instead of focusing on number of people the judicial system can lock up to justify more federal monies for their salaries.

Anonymous said...

說起這位明英宗朱祁鎮 真是好有一比:在北京高峰時酒店經紀段開車:生不完的氣。

先說年號問題,明朝皇帝在位時間再長, 酒店兼差年號也只有一個,惟獨他特殊,在位總共不過十五年,年號卻有兩個,前一個叫正統,後一個叫天順。倒不是因為他非要搞特權,兩個年號之間, 禮服店是由一大堆可氣的事串起來的。

先說正統朝,差不多是地球酒店打工人都知道的,這麼多的忠良幹才他不信任,偏寵信一個教書先生出身的太監王振, 一幹閹党把國家禍害得烏煙瘴氣。後來瓦剌犯邊,忠臣良將的苦勸不聽,偏聽死太監攛掇,非要御駕親徵, 合法酒店經紀帶著幾十萬人牛氣哄哄出了長城,按說既然親徵你就好好 打啊,他不,走到半道又後悔了,連敵人影 酒店工作都沒見著就撤兵,撤兵麼撤得快點啊,跑還沒跑成,讓人家圍在土木堡包了餃子,稀裏糊塗一場 酒店上班混戰,幾十萬大軍全死 光,連本人也當了俘虜。丟人到如此,實在可氣。

英宗被抓到蒙古高原上去啃生羊肉了, 酒店兼職爛賬總要有人收拾。皇帝讓人綁了,敵人打到家門口了,總不成學宋朝 來個衣冠南渡吧!還好喝酒 有他親弟弟給他收拾,弟弟朱祁鈺繼承帝位,改年號為景泰,可氣的正統朝總算結束了。景泰帝信用 酒店PT良臣于謙,成功組織北京保衛戰打垮敵 人,再運用外交壓力,逼得酒店喝酒 瓦剌把英宗放回來當太上皇,總算不用學宋徽宗那樣客死他鄉。折騰半天,祖宗江山差點丟了不說 禮服酒店,皇位也折騰沒了。這樣的鬧劇,怪不 得別人。

雖是傻事敗事一籮筐,但傻人總算有傻福,雖說皇位沒了, 台北酒店經紀命還是保住了,回來舒舒服服過太上皇的日子倒也 不交際應酬 錯,可他不消停,拉幫結派培植私人勢力,幾年後趁著弟弟病重搞了場“奪門之變”。奪粉味 回了皇位不說,上臺第一件事就是殺掉了功臣于謙。並把當初北京保衛戰 的功臣們來了個大清洗,掌握朝政大權的都是徐有貞、石亨、曹吉祥等一幫姦險小人。雖然過了沒幾年,這幾個人也被明英宗清算,下獄的下獄(石亨),充軍的充 軍(徐有貞) 寒假打工,被殺的被殺(曹吉祥),可明朝的政治氣象,還是一片烏煙瘴氣。

皇位奪回來了,自然就要改年號。於是,明英宗 兼差改年號為天順。從正統年到天順年,打敗仗,殺忠良,寵小人,亂國家,儘是他辦的敗事,每每讀史到此,不知有多少人氣得直哆嗦。

可正統朝的事畢竟年頭遠了,真正給後 暑假打工世攢下麻煩的,是天順朝。

“天順”麼,按字面意思,自然有風調雨順的意思。 打工從這個意義上說,“天順”朝時代的明朝,運氣還真不 壞,別的且不說,單說綁過明英宗票的瓦剌,那在土木堡創下台北酒店經紀擊敗明朝幾十萬大軍,活捉明朝皇帝偉業的瓦剌首領也先,沒死在大對頭明朝手裏,倒在內戰中被一刀 砍死。到了天順朝時期,瓦剌又和鄰居韃靼打個不停,因此,雖然少了良將於謙,但終天順一朝的邊 酒店境形勢,還算是太平無事。